The Derry-born leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has urged politicians in the North not to undo the progress made during the peace process.
Archbishop Eamon Martin has voiced concern that the principles of the Good Friday Agreement “are, perhaps, not as deeply embedded as we might have hoped.”
“There has been a return to the language of division and difference and it is important that everyone in the community gets behind our newly elected representatives and urges them not to unravel the tremendous progress that has been made over the past 20 years,” he said.
“We all have responsibilities in this regard including the Churches, the business community as well as the British and Irish Governments as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement and peace process.
“We must all avoid the use of harsh or angry language or the temptation to play the ‘blame game’ rather than accepting our collective responsibility for the past, present and future,” Archbishop Martin added.
“Our politicians have a precious vocation to work for the common good and exercise their leadership through the careful practice of compromise and agreement.”
The primate of All-Ireland said the importance of the Good Friday Agreement could not be underestimated and that “people around the world look to Northern Ireland as an example of people sorting out their differences.”
Recalling his own childhood in Derry “during troubled times and in a troubled and divided city,” he said he would be “terribly disappointed” if a new generation of young people who have grown up in peaceful times “would be manipulated into violence.”
“As a society we have hardly yet begun to tackle the terrible legacy of trauma that the years of violence left behind,” he cocluded.